author Starhawk maintains that how we exercise power will
be profoundly different depending on our spiritual understandings
and world views.
comes from the consciousness I have termed estrangement:
the view of the world as made up of atomized, nonliving
parts, mechanically interacting, valued not for what they
inherently are but only in relation to some outside standard.
It is the consciousness modeled on the God who stands
outside the world, outside nature, who must be appeased,
placated, feared, and above all, obeyed....
power is wielded in the work place, in the schools, in
the courts, in the doctor's office. It may rule with weapons
that are physical or by controlling the resources we need
to live: money, food, medical care; or by controlling
more subtle resources: information, approval, love. We
are so accustomed to power-over, so steeped in its language
and its implicit threats, that we often become aware of
its functioning only when we see its extreme manifestations.
For we have been shaped in its institutions, so that the
insides of our minds resemble the battlefield and the
stems from a different consciousness--one that sees the
world itself as a living being...where there are no solid
separations and no simple causes and effects. In such
a world, all things have inherent value...and are interrelated
in patterns too complex to ever be more than partially
described. Immanent value cannot be rated or compared.
No one, nothing, can have more of it than another. Nor
can we lose it. For we are, ourselves, the living body
of the sacred..."
Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and
by Starhawk, Harper Collins, NY, 1987. The
author goes on to offer exercises and rituals that enable
individuals and groups to build more power-within. We
highly recommend Starhawk's novel
The Fifth Sacred
(Bantam Books, 1993), which vividly portrays
two societies embodying these different kinds of power.
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